A little upside-down theology ... - page 2

I found this to be a great article. It traces the huge social, economic and political consequences of a relatively common event: the arrival of a single invasive species. In this case, it's a bug:... Read More

  1. by   heron
    Quote from aknottedyarn
    Rebel with a Cause: Foodie Elitism |*HandPicked Nation
    How Should We Respond When We're Called Elitists Because We Buy More Expensive, Local Food?

    Because high-quality local food often carries a higher price tag than food generated by the industrial system, the charge of elitism coming from industrial foodists is often vitriolic, and embarrassed foodies agonize over the label. For all their positive energy surrounding food, I've found latent guilt among this group - guilt for paying more for local food when others are starving, guilt for caring about taste when others would happily eat anything. Instead of cowering in self-guilt, let's confront the issue of prices head on.

    We can all do better. If we can find money for movies, ski trips, and recreational cruises, surely we can find the money to purchase integrity food. The fact is that most of us scrounge together enough pennies to fund the passion of our hearts. If we would cultivate a passion for food like the one we've cultivated for clothes, cars, and entertainment, perhaps we would ultimately live healthier, happier lives.

    Not sure if this is part of this discussion. I found it to be right on target. If we need to eat to live then we need to eat the best possible, to live the best possible. There are many great articles about eating local, garden to table, or farm to table eating.

    There's really not a distinct "discussion" happening, so anything goes, I guess. I started this thread as a place to post info/analysis on the "upside down theology" that scares Santorum so much. That covers a huge territory.

    I agree with the piece you quoted ... let's do confront the issue of prices head-on. What I've tried to point out in other threads is that current prices for food, energy and water are being kept far too low by shifting production costs to the public purse.

    Agribusiness is collecting profits on its frankenfood in part because they shift the cost of cleaning up after themselves to us ... the tax-payer. Locavores who choose sustainably raised food are paying prices that more closely reflect the real costs of raising it.

    This makes the "industrial foodists" look like scammers, to me. If they actually paid for the damage their industrial methods do to people, arable land and clean water, then they would either go out of business or their prices would spike sky-high.

    It'll never happen, though ... if food is sold at a fair price, then we'd have to eat less, or have fewer mouths to feed in the first place.

    The "right-side-up" theological view is that there's plenty of food for seven billion people, if we'd only do things their way.

    Kind of makes the war on fertility control look a lot like a great strategy for expanding and protecting a lucrative market.
    Last edit by heron on Mar 9, '12 : Reason: connecting the dots
  2. by   heron
    I just found this piece through longreads.com. Even though the article never mentions the Salem witch trials, it's hard to miss the interesting parallels. Some pretty good science writing, too. Lots to think about here.


    Before the media vans took over Main Street, before the environmental testers came to dig at the soil, before the doctor came to take blood, before strangers started knocking on doors and asking question after question, Katie Krautwurst, a high-school cheerleader from Le Roy, N.Y., woke up from a nap. Instantly, she knew something was wrong. Her chin was jutting forward uncontrollably and her face was contracting into spasms. She was still twitching a few weeks later when her best friend, Thera Sanchez, captain of one of the school's cheerleading squads, awoke from a nap stuttering and then later started twitching, her arms flailing and head jerking. Two weeks after that, Lydia Parker, also a senior, erupted in tics and arm swings and hums. Then word got around that Chelsey Dumars, another cheerleader, who recently moved to town, was making the same strange noises, the same strange movements, leaving school early on the days she could make it to class at all. The numbers grew-12, then 16, then 18, in a school of 600-and as they swelled, the ranks of the sufferers came to include a wider swath of the Le Roy high-school hierarchy: girls who weren't cheerleaders, girls who kept to themselves and had studs in their lips. There was even one boy and an older woman, age 36. Parents wept as their daughters stuttered at the dinner table. Teachers shut their classroom doors when they heard a din of outbursts, one cry triggering another, sending the increasingly familiar sounds ricocheting through the halls. Within a few months, as the camera crews continued to descend, the community barely seemed to recognize itself. One expert after another arrived to pontificate about what was wrong in Le Roy, a town of 7,500 in Western New York that had long prided itself on the things it got right. The kids here were wholesome and happy, their parents insisted-"cheerleaders and honor students," as one father said-products of a place that, while not perfect, was made up more of what was good about small-town America than what was bad. Now, though, the girls' writhing and stuttering suggested something troubling, either arising from within the community or being perpetrated on it, a mystery that proved irresistible for onlookers, whose attention would soon become part of the story itself.
    Last edit by heron on Mar 10, '12 : Reason: fixed the link
  3. by   heron
    This is turning into one of my favorite sites: The American Conservative

    The essays are long and it takes energy to get through them, but worth the read.

    This is a teaser from the middle of the essay on the contraception/religious freedom debate:

    Social conservatives believe that religious liberty and claims of conscience trump all. But notice how such a claim in this case would actually give the dispute a darker tint: denying Jews and Muslims the meals that are important to their ways of life on fiscal grounds would be an exercise in heartless utilitarianism. But to do so on religious grounds looks a lot like bigotry. And in real life, where the HHS regulations are concerned, there's a clash between the religious liberty asserted by Christian conservatives and the newfangled reproductive freedom asserted by liberals. How does one weigh a rights claim against another rights claim? Power decides-a savage political and media struggle must ensue.
    The American Conservative Don't Subsidize Sex-Or Anything Else
  4. by   heron
    Another excellent essay, this one on environmental struggles:

    The real cause of the environmental problems we face is not so much large private enterprises or the pursuit of profit or even capitalism as such. It is the habit we all have of externalizing our costs. Consider air travel. If somebody offers you cheap flights, you will take them rather than the more expensive flights offered by a company that puts some of its profits into rectifying the environmental damage caused by airplanes. This is human nature: we try to ignore the damage done by our unnecessary journeys by air if someone else bears the cost of them.

    ... Normally, if someone tries to force another person to bear the cost of his own misdemeanors, that other person retaliates, either by filing a lawsuit or by throwing the rubbish back over the fence. This conflict immediately opens the way to political solutions. If two people are in conflict, and if they have been brought up in a democratic culture, they will recognize that the best way to solve their problem is through a sustainable compromise rather than a lawsuit or a shootout.

    ... What then is the conservative solution, if there is one? A revival of trusteeship is the only hope for the future, and this attitude is natural to human beings. They enter the world through no choice of their own, to be greeted, as a rule, by the love of parents and the security of home. The trustee is the one who recognizes that his home, and all that it means, are inherited things, things to be safeguarded and passed on. This attitude exercises itself at the local level in the voluntary associations and small institutions of civil society. It is the core component in that associational genius that Tocqueville discerned in the American people. It is the legacy of a political order that regards people, not rulers, as the source of authority and the fount of responsible decision-making.

    And from a different blog on the same site:

    ... Actually, the whole debate is rife with fraud. To begin with, everyone thinks that the dispute is an ideological war between liberalism and conservatism. Why? In Russia, it was the Communists who fouled their country. About half of Russia is radioactive, and the rest is poisonous. In America, capitalism is far more economically efficient but also willing to run sweatshops, pollute the rivers, make the air noxious-and profess the highest ideals while doing it.

    ... In environmental politics as elsewhere, Left and Right need each other. Conservatives create much of the support for environmentalism by their hard-eyed rapacity. Environmentalists create much of the hostility to their cause by their unreasoning extremism. Neither sees, or wants to see, a middle ground.
    And so the far Left favors any fool measure, provided that it is environmental; and the far Right opposes any environmental proposal, because it is environmental. This intellectual predestination is so numbingly predictable as to make sunrise seem a fluke. For example, it is perfectly possible to drill for oil without trashing the surroundings, build a pipeline that has no ill effects, and tear it all down when the field is exhausted. But both sides will fight to the death to avoid any such common-sensical solution.

    Sometimes Conservatives seem as amoral as liberals seem immoral. The Left wants to degrade education, reward incompetence, and eliminate personal freedom. The Right would have us live in a mall-ridden, strip-mined wasteland. How, oh how, can I express my gratitude?
    Last edit by heron on Mar 11, '12 : Reason: added thought
  5. by   heron
    Found this on truth-out.org

    And Now, the Catfood Party
    Thursday 1 March 2012
    by: Carl Bloice, The Black Commentator | Op-Ed

    Like most establishment pundits, Thomas Friedman (and
    apparently most of the rest of the nation) came away
    from the awful reality show called the Republican
    Presidential debates quite discouraged. While some
    prominent conservatives in the party are openly casting
    about for a way to inject some sanity into the race and
    perhaps another candidate the New York Times columnist
    is talking up another party.

    ... Friedman says he hasn't made up his mind whether he
    would support an alternative candidacy but he has a
    nominee to head its ticket. It's former U.S.
    comptroller general David Walker, a former senior
    executive at PWC auditing firm and currently the chief
    executive of something called the "Comeback America
    Initiative." Walker's background and activities are
    interesting and instructive, but of most significance
    is what it is that he proposes to do to get "America's
    fiscal house in order."

    ... When the President was convinced in 2010 to set up the
    "bipartisan" National Commission on Fiscal
    Responsibility and Reform - otherwise known of as the
    "Simpson Bowles" panel - the chief potential targets
    for spending cuts were Social Security, Medicare and
    Medicaid, the three principal economic security
    programs for seniors, people with disabilities and the
    very poor. As the intent became clear, Senior and
    disability activists around the country took to
    referring to it as the "Catfood Commission," an
    allusion to the really existing seniors who have
    resorted to eating pet food when their meager incomes
    have run out.

    First we had the catfood commission; now we have the
    catfood party.

    The essay takes a look at the financial ties between Walker, Friedman and an outfit called Americans Elect ... and how it all traces back to left-leaning billionaires and their support for Obama.
  6. by   TopazLover
    If I am reading this correctly it is saying that there are ultra rich conservatives that find the current crop of presidential hopefuls unacceptable for fiscal reasons.

    I am one of those older folks on a tight budget. Really, cat food? I can't afford cat food. Have you priced that stuff? it will be beans and rice for me. And they think I would vote for someone who wants to cut the tiny amount I get from Soc. Security?

    Be my guest. Get that Third Party up. It will split the votes of the conservatives. Now, if we could just find a way to get all this Super PAC money to follow their "trickle down" theories. Somehow all this PAC money does not come to me, or even my town. We are suffering here. Until the time I see the 1%ers paying a tax rate similar to their secretaries all is talk, and talk is cheap.
  7. by   heron
    Quote from aknottedyarn
    If I am reading this correctly it is saying that there are ultra rich conservatives that find the current crop of presidential hopefuls unacceptable for fiscal reasons.

    I am one of those older folks on a tight budget. Really, cat food? I can't afford cat food. Have you priced that stuff? it will be beans and rice for me. And they think I would vote for someone who wants to cut the tiny amount I get from Soc. Security?

    Be my guest. Get that Third Party up. It will split the votes of the conservatives. Now, if we could just find a way to get all this Super PAC money to follow their "trickle down" theories. Somehow all this PAC money does not come to me, or even my town. We are suffering here. Until the time I see the 1%ers paying a tax rate similar to their secretaries all is talk, and talk is cheap.
    Yes. I happen to agree with the author that Americans Elect bears looking at. So far, I'm kind of skeeved out.

    It has always amazed me to hear Obama blown off as a "radical" when getting to the left of him is such a short walk.

    Always interesting, too, is taking a look at what's at the top of the food chain ... or in the middle of the web.
  8. by   TopazLover

    Add it all up and the numbers say that if you really want to know how a country is going to do in the 21st century, don’t count its oil reserves or gold mines, count its highly effective teachers, involved parents and committed students. “Today’s learning outcomes at school,” says Schleicher, “are a powerful predictor for the wealth and social outcomes that countries will reap in the long run.”

    In sum, says Schleicher, “knowledge and skills have become the global currency of 21st-century economies, but there is no central bank that prints this currency. Everyone has to decide on their own how much they will print.” Sure, it’s great to have oil, gas and diamonds; they can buy jobs. But they’ll weaken your society in the long run unless they’re used to build schools and a culture of lifelong learning. “The thing that will keep you moving forward,” says Schleicher, is always “what you bring to the table yourself.”

    I might have to find the original study. Schooling, life long learning? Where have I heard of that before?
  9. by   heron
    Yes, and looking at the state of public education, I'm starting to feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.

    Not a good sign.
  10. by   heron
    I wanted to post this on the general election thread, but didn't want to derail the discussion that was already going on there. So, here it is:
    WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney on the campaign trail has chided President Barack Obama for failing to curb prices at the pump, even as prominent economists have debunked those talking points, saying there's little the president can do to lower prices in the short term. Now the latest twist: No one from Romney's economic team will step forward to defend him.

    ... After Romney insisted that more drilling in Mexico and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could bring down the cost of gas, The Huffington Post contacted members of Romney's economic team -- two revolving-door lobbyists and two former chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush -- to ask if they would vouch for the claim.

    "I will pass. Sorry," prominent macroeconomist Gregory Mankiw, a Romney advisor, replied when contacted by HuffPost about an interview. Other queries were similarly denied or unreturned.
    bolding added

  11. by   heron
    Wow ... just, wow:

    Acknowledging Climate Change Doesn't Make You A Liberal

    by Paul Douglas, via neorenaissance

    I'm going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real.

    I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I'm a meteorologist, and the weather maps I'm staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you're not imagining it: we've clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I'm in a small, frustrated and endangered minority: a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It's ironic.

    The root of the word conservative is "conserve." A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly "global warming alarmists" are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed.
    Weather 2.0. "It's A New Atmosphere Floating Overhead."

    These are the Dog Days of March. Ham Weather reports 6,895 records in the last week - some towns 30 to 45 degrees warmer than average; off-the-scale, freakishly warm. 13,393 daily records for heat since March 1 - 16 times more warm records than cold records. The scope, intensity and duration of this early heat wave are historic and unprecedented.

    And yes, climate change is probably spiking our weather.

    "Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get." 129,404 weather records in one year? You can't point to any one weather extreme and say "that's climate change". But a warmer atmosphere loads the dice, increasing the potential for historic spikes in temperature and more frequent and bizarre weather extremes. You can't prove that any one of Barry Bond's 762 home runs was sparked by (alleged) steroid use. But it did increase his "base state," raising the overall odds of hitting a home run. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, more fuel for floods, while increased evaporation pushes other regions into drought.

    Images courtesy of NOAA. Billion dollar disasters (upper). Percentage of USA in drought/flood (lower)

    Here's what I suspect: the patient is running a slight fever. Symptoms include violent tornado sneezes, severe sniffles of flooding and raging rashes of jaw-dropping warmth. It's 85 in March. What will July bring? It's as if Mother Nature seized the weather remote, put America's seasons on fast-forward, and turned the volume on extreme weather up to a deafening 10. This isn't even close to being "normal". Weather Underground's Dr. Jeff Masters put it best. "This is not the atmosphere I grew up with."

    ... My climate epiphany wasn't overnight, and it had nothing to do with Al Gore. In the mid-90s I noticed gradual changes in the weather patterns floating over Minnesota. Curious, I began investigating climate science, and, over time, began to see the thumbprint of climate change, along with 97% of published, peer-reviewed PhD's, who link a 40% spike in greenhouse gases with a warmer, stormier atmosphere.

    ... Bill O'Reilly, whom I respect, talks of a "no-spin zone." Yet today there's a very concerted, well-funded effort to spin climate science. Some companies, institutes and think tanks are cherry-picking data, planting dubious seeds of doubt, arming professional deniers, scientists-for-hire and skeptical bloggers with the ammunition necessary to keep climate confusion alive. It's the "you can't prove smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer!" argument, times 100, with many of the same players. Amazing.

    ...Trust your gut - and real experts. We should listen to peer-reviewed climate scientists, who are very competitive by nature. This is not about "insuring more fat government research grants." I have yet to find a climate scientist in the "1 Percent", driving a midlife-crisis-red Ferrari into the lab. I truly hope these scientists turn out to be wrong, but I see no sound, scientific evidence to support that position today. What I keep coming back to is this: all those dire (alarmist!) warnings from climate scientists 30 years ago? They're coming true, one after another - and faster than supercomputer models predicted.

    ... I'm a Christian, and I can't understand how people who profess to love and follow God roll their eyes when the subject of climate change comes up. Actions have consequences. Were we really put here to plunder the Earth, no questions asked?

    ... We don't have much time. Earth Day is April 22, but every day is Earth Day. Native Americans remind us of the sacred responsibility we have for all those who come next:

    "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors...we borrow it from our children."
  12. by   TopazLover

    One study, just published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Environmental Science & Technology, found that feather meal routinely contained a banned class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. These antibiotics (such as Cipro), are illegal in poultry production because they can breed antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that harm humans. Already, antibiotic-resistant infections kill more Americans annually than AIDS, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

    The same study also found that one-third of feather-meal samples contained an antihistamine that is the active ingredient of Benadryl. The great majority of feather meal contained acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. And feather-meal samples from China contained an antidepressant that is the active ingredient in Prozac.
    Poultry-growing literature has recommended Benadryl to reduce anxiety among chickens, apparently because stressed chickens have tougher meat and grow more slowly. Tylenol and Prozac presumably serve the same purpose.
    Researchers found that most feather-meal samples contained caffeine. It turns out that chickens are sometimes fed coffee pulp and green tea powder to keep them awake so that they can spend more time eating. (Is that why they need the Benadryl, to calm them down?)

    The other peer-reviewed study, reported in a journal called Science of the Total Environment, found arsenic in every sample of feather meal tested. Almost 9 in 10 broiler chickens in the United States had been fed arsenic, according to a 2011 industry estimate

    This kind of made me a bit ill to read. We all know that factory farms are not places we even like to think about. No pretty youngsters with freckled noses hugging their pet animals. We might hate to think about the horrible conditions that these animals suffer but our desire for cheap food seems greater for most of us than our sensibilities.

    I have become more aware and do tend to gravitate towards more humanely raised animals. This article has been another wake up call for me. Seems like it might be news to some of the growers.
    These findings will surprise some poultry farmers because even they often don’t know what chemicals they feed their birds. Huge food companies require farmers to use a proprietary food mix, and the farmer typically doesn’t know exactly what is in it. I asked the United States Poultry and Egg Association for comment, but it said that it had not seen the studies and had nothing more to say.

    So, if a chicken is sold under a corporate label the grower might think it is antibiotic free, drug free and it still might have been dosed by the feed the corp. supplies. Prozac, Benadryl, and Arsenic; Drug interactions anyone? I am curious as to how much is given, and how much is in the meat? The testing only included feathers.

    I am getting closer to giving up meat.